“Money can’t buy you class” with Countess LuAnn

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Countess LuAnn De Lesseps
Countess LuAnn De Lesseps
Countess LuAnn hits the jackpot at the Borgata! 

If there was ever a match made in heaven it’s the majestic Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City presenting the regal Countess LuAnn for her hit cabaret show on Friday, August 24, 2018 at 9 pm.

De Lesseps’ breezy and breathy cabaret style act blends the standards we all know and love with her signature breathy and brassy Broadway-style tones. I caught up with the Countess as she was finalizing her show for tonight. We talked about everything from her Real Housewives cast mates, becoming a certified cabaret sensation and what we can expect from the newest incarnation of The Countess. Chic C’est La Vie indeed!

Michael Cook: You are back in Atlantic City. And you have quite the history at the Borgata, including the filming of your music video “Chic, C’est La Vie,” with some of your Real Housewives of New York City cast mates several years ago. Now you’re back. The Borgata is basically made for the Countess! 

Countess LuAnn De Lesseps
“Housewives of New York City” star Countess LuAnn De Lesseps

Countess LuAnn De Lesseps: (laughs) Yes it’s perfect. It is my biggest venue to date, and it is all so very exciting for both me and my team.

The finale of Housewives this year featured your first show in New York City of Countess And Friends, and now you have essentially gone on your own tour. Is it surreal to see how far the show has gone since it’s initial start? 

CLD: It is absolutely incredible. I knew that the show was good, but I did not know that it would have this much success, which is an truly amazing surprise for me. I am just overwhelmed with joy. Creatively, I love doing it and I think I get more out of the shows, both personally and emotionally. When I have all of the fans that love the music and they love the show and they love me, it just feels so good. I will tell you this-they do more for me than I do for them, that much I know. It’s true. It is like I need it; I need to be up there and I love it.

It’s fair to say that Countess And Friends has almost been a lifeline of sorts for you correct? 

CLD: Yes it really has. It has been a major lifeline. It has saved me in so many ways. My energy goes into the show and my family really, and of course my sobriety. Sobriety comes first, which has helped my family going well, and of course the show. Those are my top three important things in my life.

Between your well-documented drama in Palm Beach last Christmas, a divorce, and a public family battle, you have had a beyond challenging year. How are you doing now with most of that in the rearview mirror? 

"Housewives of New York City" star Countess LuAnn De Lesseps
“Housewives of New York City” star Countess LuAnn De Lesseps

CLD: I am doing great and I feel really good. Every day is definitely a challenge though, it’s a lifestyle that I lead and it is not easy. I am taking my sobriety seriously though and it is the most important thing to me. Since I have quit drinking-I am thirty five days sober today by the way-I feel so much better and I just feel really good. I feel in control, empowered happy, and ready. I am really not tempted to drink right now, that is my state of mind.

With the challenges in our life, what lesson have you taken from all of them this year? 

CLD: Well, there have been so many for me this year, (laughs)! Let’s see, I have had divorce and jail. What I have learned is that I never want to be in the same place again. That keeps me moving forward in a positive way. I want to be free of the chains of alcohol-and the chains of prison too!

The other thing is, we are so learned in this behavior. Drinking sometimes is like “bing”, so automatic. I have done some work, and this is just the beginning for me. I now can say to myself,“ No that is the old Lu. The new Lu does not really need that drink.” it is a lot of self talk, talking to yourself and being in touch with your higher power and all that good stuff, you know? It helps me every single day.

So much shifted in your life and your friendships with the ladies on Real Housewives of New York City shifted as well. Your friendship with Bethenny grew stronger, while your friendship with Dorinda became strained. Was it interesting seeing your relationships change through a new lens entirely? 

CLD: Listen, you know what they say about sobriety, you should change people, places and things. I don’t like to be around people that drink too much. I can be around people that are drinking, and that is fine. But people that drink too much and get sloppy. I can’t be around. I can’t do it.

You hopefully will go back for another season, and you will have a new addition with the departure of six year Housewife Carole Radziwill. Do you think the next season will almost be like starting the whole Housewive’s journey over again with a brand new perspective? 

CLD: I was with the ladies in Cartagena Colombia and I was not drinking at all. That was after my first trip to rehab, when I was sober for six months. And then I relapsed. I am not perfect, although I try to be. But I am not. What happened to me happened; I dealt with it and now this time, I really feel that it is sticking for me this time around. Of course, the friendships are different, yes. Bethenny is not a big drinker. She is more on her game, and I like that. That is attractive to me. The partying has become less attractive. And frankly I don’t miss it, and I don’t want to do it. That is not who I want to be. I had a great time in Cartagena, and I actually ended up having more fun than everyone else just watching them! I didn’t wake up wishing I had a hangover either. I felt really good! And felt for the others who did not feel very good for themselves, and I think that shows.

The trip to Cartagena was not totally drama free; you had your phone stolen and your whole cast had quite the eventful boat ride

CLD: I know right?! Now that was crazy! Not only that, we all got a parasite! Sober, yes, but I was still getting hit over the head, Darling, when am I not getting hit over the head and still manage to get up and keep moving?

Your have collaborated with some amazing people on stage during Countess And Friends, including Laura Benanti and Rachel Dratch! Do you have a dream roster of some people you would love to work with on stage? 

CLD: You know, it would have to be a toss up between Tina Fey and Amy Schumer. Ana Gasteyer also… I want all of the Saturday Night Live girls; I want them all (laughs)!

There is nothing about the Countess that the LGBT community does not love, from your resilience to your dance music! The community and our message are so stepped in pride. What gives you the most amount of pride at this point in your life? 

CLD: My children. How comfortable they are in their own skin. I am so proud of that and how they can walk around and be grounded. I think that is the most important thing people can have. Like the sturdy trunk of a tree, the branches are able to grow wherever they want and bloom. In the age and society that we live in, it is so important to be grounded. So many kids are lost or on drugs. And they don’t have good relationships with their families. Listen, I will be honest, I had my own hiccup with my children which we all know about because it was very public. We have reconciled and everything is cool. And I am keeping my house in the Hampton’s, how’s that?! (laughs).

Tickets are available for Countess And Friends at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

The shows musical direction and arrangements are by Billy Stritch. It is tonight at 9 pm.